Scope of changes in Birth Certificate

Introduction
Birth certificate is one of the crucial documents that is useful to an individual as to prove his identification and to avail different benefits provided by the government. The Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 governs matters relating to birth and death of an individual. The certificate helps to demonstrate our name, age, citizenship, location of birth and identity of an individual. It establishes the eligibility of an individual to get an admission into school, appear for examination, right to vote, right to marry, right to obtain government documents like Pan card, Passport, Driving License etc.
Contents of a Birth Certificate are:
• Name of the individual
• Sex of the individual
• Location of birth
• Name of the Parents
• Date of Birth
• Time of Birth
• Registration Number
Authorities Responsible for Issuing the Birth Certificate

  1. Registrar General
    Section 3 of the Registration of Birth and Death Act, states the appointment of a registrar. The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint a person to be known as the Registrar-General, India. The Registrar General has the authority to issue directions concerning births and deaths covered under the territory of this act.
  2. Chief Registrar
    Section 4 of the Act defines Chief Registrar and hereby states that he manages the execution of the act in a concerned state. The Chief Registrar organizes the management of execution of the work, coordinate and supervise the work.
  3. District Registrar
    Section 5 of the Act defines the appointment of District Registrar by the state government for a specified district.
  4. Registrar
    Registrars are appointed for each local area by the state that comes under the jurisdiction of municipality, panchayat or other local authority.
    Authorities one can approach for correction in the Birth Certificate
  5. Municipal Corporation (Local Authorities)
    Under section 15 of Registration of Birth and Death Act 1969, An individual can approach municipal corporation for changes or correction in birth certificate of an individual.
  6. Hon’ble High Court
    As per Article 226 of Indian Constitution, an individual can file a writ of mandamus if an individual is dissatisfied with the order passed by the municipal corporation.
    Legal Framework under the Registration of Birth and Death Act. 1969
    Section 8: Person Required to Register Birth and Death:
    a. Head of the House: The head of the house or household is responsible to report births and deaths taking place in the premises. In absence of such head, the nearest relative to the head or the oldest male of the family is required to report births and deaths
    b. Hospital: The medical officer of the hospital is authorized to carry out the reporting of birth and deaths that takes place in nursing homes, maternity centres, hospitals, health care centres.
    c. Jails: The person who is authorized to carry out the management of concerned jail is required to report births and deaths that takes place in the premises.
    Section 13 – Delay in Registration of Birth Certificate :
    a. Any birth and death information which is given to the registrar after the expiry of the period limit but within 30 days of the birth or death, shall be registered with a payment of late fees as prescribed.
    b. Any birth and death information which is given to the registrar after 30 days but within one year of the birth or death shall registered with written permission of the prescribed authority and with payment of fee, with production of affidavit made before a notary.
    c. Any birth or death which has not been registered within one year of its occurrence, shall be registered only on an order made by a Magistrate of the first class or a Presidency Magistrate after verifying the correctness of the birth or death and on payment of the prescribed fee.
    Section 15 – Correction in Birth and Death Certificate : “Correction or cancellation of entry in the register of births and deaths. If it is proved to the satisfaction of the Registrar that any entry of a birth or death in any register kept by him under this Act is erroneous in form or substance, or has been fraudulently or improperly made, he may, subject to such rules as may be made by the State Government with respect to the conditions on which and the circumstances in which such entries may be corrected or cancelled, correct the error or cancel the entry by suitable entry in the margin, without any alteration of the original entry, and shall sign the marginal entry and add thereto the date of the correction or cancellation.”
    Section 20 – Births and Deaths outside India: The section provides provisions relating to birth and deaths of Indian citizens that takes place outside India. Such information is to registered under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and every such registration shall also be deemed to have been dully made under this Act.

Corrections that can be made in Birth Certificate

  1. Name of the Individual
  2. Date of Birth
  3. Place of Birth
  4. Spelling Error
  5. Name of Father or Mother
    Case Laws
    • In the case of Dipikaben Vishnubhai Patel Vs Gram Panchayat, Kharnagar, the petition was filed under Article 226 of Indian Constitution in the Hon’ble Hight Court of Gujarat because the Gram Panchayat stated that changing the name of the person in the birth certificate is not under its authority and power. The learned advocate, A.A. Ansari argued that the name of the petitioner is same in every document except the birth certificate, the respondent was directed to change name of the petitioner from “Jollyben” to “Dipikaben” in the birth certificate. The court allowed the petition.

• Further in case of Seenipitchai Vs Commissioner, the petition was filed in Madras High Court for the correction in date of birth in birth certificate. The Hon’ble Justice G.R. Swaminathan with reference to section 15 of the Act held that the Commissioner of Melur Municipality is in power to consider the issue and shall do the appropriate corrections in the birth certificate.

• In case of Rameshbhai Nathubhai Solanki Vs Rajkot Municipal Corporation and Anr, the Hon’ble Gujarat High Court under section 15 of the Act and Rule 11 of the Gujarat Registration of Births and Death Rules, 2004 held that the respondent authorities have power to make correction with regards to name of parents of the child. It was stated in the petition that the parents adopted the child and wanted to replace the names of original parents to their names. The court permitted the petition and granted to make necessary corrections in the Birth Certificate.

Conclusion
India having the second largest population in the world has low registration rates of births. Legal identity, including birth registration and issuance of birth certificate is a human right. Birth registration is necessary to evaluate the population of the country. To ensure smooth functioning of the registration process, the government should conduct the process through 100% online mode. Not only this, but also the changes required in the birth certificate or any other correction of error that is needed to be done should be accessible through online medium by submission of documentary evidence required by the authority to scrutinise it. Just like the registration of birth, the registration of deaths is crucial to avoid misrepresentation of that person in any level or misuse of his/her identity.
A proper legal document is a necessity to every individual to avoid problems and to avail benefits. Hence, while applying for any kind of legal documents or legal certificates, all bits and pieces of information shall be considered crucial and referred by the authorities to avoid any issue that may arise later on.

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